Here’s the third set of questions and answers. The Kings — players and coach Terry Murray — will be available to the media starting at 1 p.m. today, so I’ll be there for all of that…
Mark said; Will raitis Be back next season.
Answer: I don’t know, but if I was betting on it, I would say no.
Captain Material asked: Will the team be releasing any information on draft ticket availability to the public or info on fan access or attendance of the draft?
Answer: Free tickets are being offered to season-ticket holders and certain youth hockey players, and they’re also doing something where if you go to Sports Chalet, make a purchase and sign up for “Bailey’s Buddies,” you get free tickets. I believe information about general ticket available will be released sometime in the next week. http://kings.nhl.com/nhldraft has some information on this.
Phlegm: Do the scouts regret not taking Tyler Myers? Do regret the Kings didn’t take Tyler Myers? Who was your biggest surprise this season? If you were GM who would you target in free agency? When you do you think Lombardi’s extension will be announced? If O’Donnell retires, do you think the organization should give him a job, like Emerson, in player development?
Answers: 1) Maybe. And there’s probably five or six teams that regret not taking Anze Kopitar in 2005. And there’s 20 teams that regret not taking Luc Robitaille in 1984. Point is, it’s relatively pointless to play the hindsight game when it comes to draft picks. There’s not a single team that has ever had a perfect draft. 2) It has to be Brad Richardson, a guy who — in coaches’ eyes — was a marginal NHL player six months ago. He came a long way this season, a big credit to him. 3) Again, as I answered a previous question, everyone looks to free agency, but Lombardi isn’t shy about filling holes through trades. I think they’ll look at a scoring winger and a defenseman. I really don’t think you “target” any particular player(s). You have a list, prioritize it and see what you can get. 4) Did he sign one that I’m not aware of? I’m not even sure when those discussions will start. Probably not until the free-agency period dies down, I would guess. 5) I’m not sure if he wants one or not. It did occur to me, late in the season as O’Donnell was answering reporters’ questions, that he might make a good coach one day, but not every retired player has a desire to go in that area. Most players don’t, in fact. If there was a fit for O’Donnell, post-playing days, and he wanted it, he would certainly have some value, I think.
Phlegm asked: I just noticed the hamburger comment… Have you eaten at The Counter? Awesome burgers
Answer: You know, the only one we were really close to on the road this year — at least that I’m aware of — was in San Jose. I went in there one afternoon, and it was literally jammed, wall to wall, with people, so I didn’t wait. I just saw that there’s one in El Segundo, so I’ll have to check it out!
Jim asked: Just wanted to see what you thought of the atmosphere at Staples Center and how it compared to GM place? Obviously the media attention/hype in LA wasnt nearly as crazy as in Vancouver but in terms of loudness/passion inside the arenas how do you think we Kings fans measured up?
Answer: Wow…Vancouver is a tough comparison, because it’s hard to get any crazier than a Canadian city, but I was very impressed by what I heard in Staples Center. I thought it was tremendous in Game 3, then fell off a bit in Game 4 for some reason, but before Game 3 I remember thinking, “Why isn’t David Courtney announcing the starting lineup?” Then I realized he was, and that I just couldn’t hear him at the start. Impressive. Thing is, though, some cities/arenas do that 41 times during the regular season, not just in the playoffs. I’m not knocking the Kings’ crowds, but if you really want to be get measured alongside the Vancouvers and Calgarys of the league, that has to be there every night.
mk_42 asked: What’s your personal favorite: Murray describing someone as a “premier player in the league” or saying “on the X side of it” or someone remarking on Doughty’s “poise?” (or Ryan Smyth saying “obviously”?) Seriously though, how hard is it to get continous content asking, basically, the same things over and over? Is it harder now with continuous coverage then it was when you were covering them once a week? The players are paid to play, coaches to coach, so giving insightful answers isn’t necessarily a part of what they do best. Is it hard to “get it out of them?” Do you feel that they wish you’d just leave them alone and let them play hockey?
Answer: Not even close, and I’m going off the board! It’s Terry Murray with “hard and heavy play.” If there was a drinking game for that one, I’d…be drinking a lot. But it’s a very good question you ask. Especially in our Internet age, it’s tougher for both reporters and athletes/coaches. We’re basically in a 24/7 news cycle, and when you’re there every single day, it can be difficult to come up with interesting stuff. Some days, frankly, there’s just not much going on. The good news in hockey is that you’ve got 19 players who play every game, so it’s a little easier to go to different guys and try to explore angles. That’s a matter of reporters doing research, being observant and trying to find compelling angles. As for players and coaches giving insightful answers, I think it’s also up to reporters to come up with good questions for them. If I stick my recorder in someone’s face and just say, “Tough game, huh?” I’m not going to get much, and rightfully so. If I come up with a good question, it might elicit a good answer. I’m sure some guys wish reporters would leave them alone, but hockey players, almost universally, are great with the media. Baseball players? Oh boy.
Jason asked: Which players currently in the minors/juniors have the best chance of being on the Kings opening night roster next year?
Answer: In no particular order, I’d say Bernier, Westgarth, Moller, Voynov, Schenn, Loktionov, Clifford, Hickey and Martinez. That would be my short list at the moment. I reserve the right to change that after actually seeing some of these guys at the developmental camp in July.
mk_42 asked: Is there a “tech support” or “webmaster” contact? I’ve been getting some strange behavior from the site lately…odd redirection, odd formatting…who takes care of that?
Answer: As you run into issues — there have certainly been enough of them — just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will make sure the proper people are made aware.
BakoCAkingsCondorsGuy asked: You know I love you, but…
Your website is broken.
–PLEASE, FIX IT!–
1): Slow response;
2): Won’t remember Name/Mail/Website, have to enter it every time;
3): Sometimes, the comments disappear, then some appear, then disappear again…
Answer: If you knew how close I’ve come to breaking things in the past couple weeks, out of frustration… Believe me, I am making people aware of these things on a daily basis. It’s personally embarrassing to me.
Andrew asked: Rich, now that you’re not writing for the Daily News in the offseason, what are your summer days going to look like? A lot of Cubs baseball on WGN I’m assuming?
Answer: I caught my first game of the season on TV last night…a nice extra-innings win! There’s still plenty of work to be done in the summer, but I admit, it will be weird to not drive to practice every morning. I’ll take a little time off, most notably in late July, but in the immediate future it will be all about recapping the season and looking ahead to the draft, free agency, etc.
BringBackKingston asked: I think you have said that you’ve never made it a Frozen Fury. So now that you’re on the payroll, are you finally going to make it? It’s been a while, in what order do playoff teams pick in the draft?
Answers: 1) You know, next year I really need to pay off the person who schedules those things. The date, naturally, is the same as a college football game I’d like to catch. Depending on the schedule, I might go up and back before the game, just to check out the atmosphere of it, because I’d really like to. It also might depend on how much the Kings want to send me to some of these exhibition games. We haven’t really had that discussion yet. 2) OK, this can get complicated, and I hope I don’t mess it up. The first 14 picks have already been determined. The rest of it is based on playoff performance, tied to regular-season finish. The next set of picks goes to teams that didn’t win their division and lost in one of the first two rounds (such as the Kings). The next set of picks goes to teams that won their divisions during the regular season but lost in the first or second round of the playoffs (such as New Jersey and Buffalo). The last four picks (27-30) will go to the conference finalists, with the Stanley Cup winner getting No. 30, the runner-up getting No. 29 and the losers of the conference finals getting 27 and 28. For an example, look at Montreal. If Montreal wins the Stanley Cup, they pick No. 30. If they lose in the conference finals, they pick No. 27. If they lose in the first or second round, they pick No. 15, since they had the fewest points among non-lottery teams. Confusing? Yes. The Kings, by my math, could pick No. 22, No. 21 or No. 20.
JFont asked: Thanks Rich for your exceptional works during the season. I wrote this in one of the earlier posts. After Erik Ersberg was pulled after game 5, I was thinking that has got to be the lowest moment of his NHL career. He was in the game hoping that he can give the team a chance to come back, only ended up that he gave up two soft goals and replaced by Quick, who got pulled earlier. I thought that was pretty humiliating. Did you have a chance to talk to him, or saw how he took it? I hope he recovered well from that game. With all the focus on the goalie situation next season is on Bernier, it probably made it even tougher for him.
Answer: Well, to answer the question directly, no, I haven’t had a chance to talk to him after the game. In general, I’m sure he was very displeased with his effort and the way the game turned out, but I don’t think I would take it to the extent of suggesting that he was humiliated or emotionally destroyed or anything like that. The game was 4-1 when he came in, the Kings were getting smashed in general and it ended up 7-2. If the Kings had miraculously rallied with five goals and lost the game 7-6, and Ersberg’s goals were the ones that ended up deciding the game, I might feel differently about that, but he was a backup goalie who came into a game in an awful situation and gave up two goals. Like I said, I’m sure it wasn’t the most fun night of his life, but I don’t attribute a lot to it beyond that.